Restaurant Review – Pockets

I’m always on the lookout for a healthy (and cheap!) restaurant. This week, I hit the jackpot with Pockets. Pockets website says “we specialize in providing customers with a large assortment of fresh, healthy ingredients… we hope to work our best to please the community and create a healthy option for all.” I immediately knew it was my kind of place! The menu is comprised of pockets, calzones, salads, kids meals, pizza, and potatoes. What’s a pocket, you ask? A pocket is a freshly baked, multi-grain bread hot out of the oven, split open, and stuffed with your choice of finely chopped greens, vegetables, cheeses, and meats; served with your favorite dressing on the side. Since it’s the name of the restaurant, I knew I had to try one! I chose the Asian Pocket with Chicken: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, carrots, red cabbage, red onions, edamame, and crunchy noodles; served with sesame ginger dressing. This was fantastic! The pocket itself was delicious- the bread was thick and fluffy, just how I like it! The vegetables were so fresh and crunchy and the sesame ginger dressing was just the right sweet compliment to the savory filling. My friend ordered the Southwest Salad with Chicken: spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, corn, black beans, onions, and cheddar cheese; served with chipotle ranch dressing. This was super tasty as well! I loved the addition of the spinach to the lettuce, it gave the salad great texture. The ranch was so yummy, I knew it had to be made in house; and it is! I can’t wait to come back and try more menu items here.

Pockets has four locations in the city: Hyde Park, Madison & Morgan, Lincoln Park, and Rogers Park. They also have a location in Aurora. I went to the Lincoln Park location, located at 3001 N Lincoln. They are open 7 days a week from 11 am to 10 pm. For other location information, catering, online ordering, and more; visit their website.


Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Battling Dry Indoor Air

Those of us with forced air furnaces are confronted every winter with dry air. Every time the furnace runs, it sucks out any moisture in the air. Dry air is responsible for many ailments from dry skin, aggravated allergies, and bloody noses to colds and the flu. Here are a few ways to naturally bring moisture into your home this winter.

First, keep the thermostat down. The fewer times the furnace runs, the more moisture remains in the house. We wear long johns, sweatshirts, and fleeces in the house. You’ll really see a difference in your energy bills; in addition to losing less moisture.

Indoor plants produce moisture by transpiration. The moisture from the plant evaporates from the leaves and stems and into the air. Note: plants must be kept well-watered. Always choose plants that can tolerate dry conditions, unless you want to mist every day; which does help to add humidity. Flowers in a vase on a sunny windowsill will naturally evaporate moisture into the air.

In the bath, shower with the door open to release all the steam into the rest of the house. If you bathe, let the water sit for a while to evaporate into the air before you drain the tub.

The stovetop is a great place to create humidity. Everything you cook will give off moisture. Use a kettle instead of microwaving your water for tea (it will taste better too!) Simply boil water, then reduce to a simmer. Add a few drops of tea tree oil, it has germ killing properties. Leave the dishwasher open to air dry the dishes. This saves energy and releases all that moisture into the air.

It’s an old- fashioned trick, but placing containers of water on top of heat registers is one of the best ways to add humidity to your air. It can be hard with pets and kids around, but it’s very effective.

Any more ideas for raising the humidity in our homes?


9 Things NOT To Do When Staging Your Home For Sale

If you want your home to stand out from the crowd and entice buyers to put in an offer, you’d be well advised to have it staged. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to stage a home for the market.

While there are plenty of things that can help improve the way a home is presented to buyers, there are plenty of other blunders that can send buyers in the other direction.

When staging your home to sell, make sure not to make the following mistakes.

1. Neglecting to Depersonalize

One of the first rules when it comes to staging homes for sale is to make sure they have been depersonalized and neutralized. That means making the home look as if it’s ready to take on new owners and a new family without leaving remnants and reminders of the people who live there now.

You might have your own tastes, but that doesn’t mean that all buyers will necessarily feel the same way. You might have an eccentric sense of style which tickles your fancy, but it might have the opposite effect on buyers.

The goal is to attract buyers and impress them enough that they actually want to spend the big bucks on your home. But if your home is overly decked out in quirky finishes and colors, you could risk turning buyers off.

2. Leaving Your Family Photos Up

Creating a space that makes the majority of buyers able to see themselves living there can be impossible if your home is still covered in family photos. If you want to scream that another family is still living in the home, then leaving your family pictures hanging on all walls or perched up on all shelves is the way to do it. But you should be striving to do the opposite.

You’ll make it very difficult for buyers to be able to see themselves living in your home if it is still filled with pictures of your family. You’d be doing yourself a favor by putting them away and ready to be moved to your new home.

3. Not Tending to Your Yard

Focusing on the interior of your home is great, but what about the outside? After all, the exterior of your home is the first thing that buyers will see. If you’ve neglected to trim the bushes, mow the lawn, and water your flowers, your home’s curb appeal will suffer, and so will your efforts to attract a willing buyer.

If the look of your home from the curb isn’t appealing, buyers will be likely to move on to the next home on their list.

4. Forgetting to Clean Out Your Closets

You may have decluttered your home, taken down all your personal artifacts and photos, and decked out your home with all the right furniture pieces and accessories. But have you given your closets any attention? You can bet your bottom dollar that buyers will open all your closet doors, and the last thing they want to be greeted by is a pile of items that come crashing down on them the second they open the door.

Not only is that annoying, but it will also do little to show buyers that your home has decent storage. Your closets should be organized and have just enough items for the space to comfortably fit them. Clean closets will help sell the storage factor of your home. But if your closets are in complete disarray, you’ll be doing your listing a disservice.

5. Not Making Minor Repairs

You might not think that a chipped tile, burned-out lightbulb, or loose doorknob is a big deal, but it is to buyers. Ideally, buyers want to be able to walk into a home and see that it’s move-in ready.

But things that need repair – even minor ones – will stand out to buyers. The last thing they want to see is a home that is in need of extra attention after a deal is sealed. No matter how well your home is staged, neglecting to make minor repairs can be a turn-off for buyers.

6. Not Converting Rooms Back to Their Original Purpose

You may not have a need for that third bedroom and may have been using it as a home office or at-home gym. But when it’s time to sell your home, you’ll want to convert it back to its original intended purpose. A three-bedroom home is certainly more valuable than a two-bedroom home, especially if the neighborhood calls for it.

And if buyers are looking for three-bedrooms – and your home is advertised as such – then all three bedrooms should be used and staged as such. Not converting certain rooms back to their original intended use can sabotage your sale.

7. Leaving Your Collections Out

Whether you collect stamps, spoons from across the globe, or mini crystal figurines, they should be tucked away when your home is on the market. Collections like these will only make your home look cluttered, which is never a good thing. While these may be treasures to you, buyers might not feel the same way.

8. Furnishing With Off-Scale Pieces

The pieces that you furnish your home with should be relative to the scale of each room. For instance, a small room filled with oversized bulky sofas and chairs will only make the room seem smaller, while a large space equipped with only a couple of dainty chairs can make the space seem off-balance and cold.

Not choosing the right-sized furniture according to the scale of each room in your home will do little to impress buyers and help them develop an emotional connection to your home.

9. Blanketing the Whole Home in the Same Color

Neutral colors are always recommended for sellers when staging their homes. These colors will be more appreciated to buyers as opposed to much brighter, more vibrant hues that not everyone might like. But splashing the exact same color across every room in the home is not exactly a good idea, either. Doing so will just make your home look boring and dull.

The Bottom Line

Staging is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your home in the best light possible and help you increase your odds of selling quickly and for more money. But how you stage your home matters. Be sure to streamline your efforts and focus on tasks that have been shown to help boost home sales while leaving the above-mentioned mistakes by the wayside.


It’s a snowy weekend forecast here in Chicago!  Another typical, winter weekend in January.  Not for Chicagoans though!  We’ll be taking in some baseball and heading to the beach.  Come join us!!

Get your fill of baseball this weekend at the 34th annual Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago (301 E. North Water St.) in the Streeterville neighborhood.  The Opening Ceremony will take place in the main ballroom on Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Then you’ll see the wildly entertaining “Friday Night with Ryan Dempster” from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Saturday’s programming continues with the always popular “Joe Maddon & the Coaching Staffing,” “Baseball Operations Update”, and “Business Operations Update” panels; as well as the “Kids Only Press Conference.”  The day will conclude with long-time convention favorite Cubs Bingo from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  The convention also features autograph opportunities, engaging panel discussions, unique photo opportunities, interactive exhibits, enhanced kid’s activities, and more!  If you’re a die-hard Cubs fan, this is just as important as a pilgrimage to the Friendly Confines!!  So will 2019 be the year the Cubs return to the World Series?

Escape the snow and bitter cold weather this winter with a day at The Beach Chicago on display in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood from January 19 through February 3.  Free and open to the public, The Beach Chicago is an immersive installation comprised of a tall enclosure which creates a large, open room filled with over a million antimicrobial and recyclable plastic balls.  Deck chairs, lifeguard chairs, umbrellas, and signage mimic the sensation of a day at the beach.  And fittingly, it also includes a pier hovering over the “sea” of balls from which onlookers can watch and revel in the beach below!  You’ll just have to imagine the sweltering heat of a Chicago summer!!

If you’re a big fan of marionettes, you’ll love the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival which brings puppeteers from across the globe to the Studebaker Theater (410 S. Michigan Ave.) in The Loop for 11 days of symposiums, workshops, and shows.  A few highlights of this year’s lineup include the indigenous people’s tale Ajijaak on Turtle Island (co-directed by Heather Henson, daughter of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson), a dark story featuring life-sized puppets called Chambre Noire, and the surreal French performance L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1!  The productions selected are surprising, thought-provoking, and moving examples of the power of puppetry to foster compassion and spark insight!!

If you find yourself in the River North neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, The Godfrey Hotel Chicago (127 W. Huron St.) is hosting the Chicago Rosé Fest – A Rosé Tasting at Godfrey Rooftop between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  Tickets include four hours of rosé tastings with over a dozen rosé varieties to try, giveaways, and more!  The Godfrey Rooftop has panoramic skyline views, fire pits, and shimmering water elements which makes it a perfect location to enjoy rosé all day!!

Celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision of creating a “beloved community” at Too Hot to Handel:  The Jazz-Gospel Messiah this Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday (3:00 p.m.) at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.) in The Loop.  Join celebrated soloists Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Karen Marie Richardson along with famed Detroit pianist Alvin Waddles and over 100 Chicago musicians and singers as they put a blues, jazz, gospel, and rock twist on Handel’s classic oratorio – Messiah!  You’ll be singing and dancing in the aisles!!

Will You Be Joining Us for Some Summer Fun this Winter?

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park, Chicago Loop, Lincoln Square, Evanston

Lakeview: Start your New Year right with a calming Meditation Workshop at the Japanese Culture Center. The workshop is this Saturday, January 19 from 12-2 pm. Zazen, the practice of meditation is a transformative process that aims to deepen our connection to the mind and body. With regular practice, meditation and breath training can significantly reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and cultivate a well-grounded state of awareness. This introductory workshop is recommended for anyone new to zen meditation or working to deepen their existing practice. The workshop is $30 per student. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

Lincoln Park: Join Oyster Bah for a New Year’s Resolution Dinner with Church Street Brewery. On Monday, January 28, dinner will begin at 6:30 pm. The four-course beer dinner is $49.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. All courses will be expertly paired with one of Church Streets unique brews! Some menu items include sushi grade ahi tuna, filet mignon, steamed whole Maine lobster, potatoes, grilled corn, and more. Purchase your tickets here!

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Join 2 Towns Ciderhouse for a Tap Takeover and Meet the Maker during Chicago Cider Week! On Wednesday, February 6 from 7-10 pm, 2 Towns founder and head cider-maker Dave Takush will be at Mac’s Wood Grilled from 7-8 pm. You’ll play a game of “Stump the Cider-Maker”. If Dave can’t answer your cider-related questions, you’ll score 2 Towns swag! There will be pours of four featured ciders and you get to keep the glass (while supplies last!). Find more information on their Facebook page.

Chicago Loop: Continue to ring in the New Year with a fun and festive Girl’s Night Out! Join Chicago Housewives on Thursday, January 31 for a VIP Girl’s Night Out from 4-7 pm. You’ll socialize, shop local vendors, enjoy cocktails, and eat delicious food from Latinicity. The event is free to attend, but you do need to register on Eventbrite. You can do so here! The event is at Latinicity, located at 108 N State Street, on the 3rd floor.

Lincoln Square: It’s not too early to start preparing for Valentine’s Day! Mark your calendars for the Lovetails Valentine’s Market on February 9 from 12:30 to 5 pm. Shop local, while enjoying a beer from Dovetail Brewery! Vendors include jewelry by Sacred Art, candles by Adorn Chicago, face and body treatments by Scrub Me, vegan treats by Tubby Taste, and much more. Find more information here.

Evanston: Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. at the Evanston Public Library! This Monday, January 21 from 11 am to 4 pm, gather in the Children’s Room to remember and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Two films will be shown: Martin’s Big Words at 12:45 and 1:45 pm; March On! at 1:15 and 2:15 pm. From 2:30-3:30 pm, Young, Black & Lit will be giving away 150 children’s books featuring black main characters to attendees. YB&L’s mission is to put books that center, reflect, and affirm black children into the hands of local youth. Reverend Eddie P. Reeves will read Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at 3 pm. There will be a community sing at 3:20 pm, led by Marlene Meyer. Find more information on the library website.


8 Tips for Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

There are plenty of real estate agents out there, which can make choosing just one seem like a daunting task. Considering how important buying or selling a huge investment like real estate is, it’s essential that you choose an agent who will adequately serve your needs.

It might take a little time and effort on your part to sift through the agents in your area, but doing so will boost the odds that you’ll find the right one to represent you in a real estate deal.

Here are some tips for finding and choosing the right real estate agent.

1. Choose One With the Appropriate Credentials

All agents need to be licensed in the state they work in. In order to obtain their license, they need to have gone through a number of courses and passed a test. In California, agents are required to complete 135 hours of education and pass the salespersons exam before being licensed and able to work as an agent in the state.

They may have other credentials and designations that specialize them in specific areas of real estate. For example, many agents go on to take additional courses on top of the mandatory ones required to be a licensed agent.

Make sure the agent can provide proof of their credentials and a commitment to their fiduciary duties.

2. Find Out About Any Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary actions happen in the world of real estate. That said, the severity of such actions vary from minor issues to more severe offenses. While the odds are pretty low that the agent you’re thinking of working with has had past disciplinary action taken against them, it’s still worth checking out anyway.

Check with the regulatory entity in your area to find out whether or not the agent you’re considering has had any complaints or actions taken against them. If so, find out what they are and decide whether or not you’re comfortable working with an agent with a potentially blemished past.

3. Find Out if They Work Full-Time in Real Estate

There are plenty of agents out there who work on a part-time basis. While many of these agents are good at what they do, they may have other work obligations that can take them away from providing their clients with comprehensive services.

Ideally, the agent that you work with will be dedicated to real estate full time and will be able to give you their full attention.

4. Find Out About Their Experience

Credentials and training are certainly essential qualities for a real estate agent to possess, but experience is also an important factor to consider. Being successful in buying and selling real estate requires a certain amount of experience to master.

It’s one thing to study real estate, but it’s quite another to have hands-on, real-life experience. An agent who has lots of experience working will be more engaged in their craft and will have a better handle on the ins and outs of the industry.

5. Scope the Agent’s Online Listings

If you’re on the selling end of a real estate transaction, you’ll want to make sure that the agent you choose is skilled at marketing. You can gain a sense of how the agent markets their properties by checking out their listings online.

Check out the descriptions and photos and gauge how attractive and enticing they make their listings appear. Further, determine how the agent’s listings match the property you want to sell.

Looking at the agent’s listings will also be able to tell you how busy they are. You want them to be busy enough so that they’re in high demand and successful, but perhaps not so busy that you’ll get lost in the crowd of other clients.

6. Make Sure They’re Familiar With the Area

Whether you’re buying or selling, you want an agent who is very familiar and experienced with the housing market in your particular area.

Each community has its own unique features that affect its respective real estate market, so understanding what these traits are will make the agent an expert in that particular area. Such a deep understanding of the local market can give you a leg up on the competition and ensure a more successful experience buying or selling.

7. Find Out Their Availability

Selling and buying certainly take plenty of time, as there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into the process. As such, you want to make sure that your agent has enough time to dedicate to you. 

Find out what their availability is and whether or not they work with a team. If they work with other professionals, you’ll still be given the attention and service you’ve been promised by always having someone available to field your calls, answer your questions, or take you to showings. Look for an agent who works with a team or at least has an administrative assistant so you can be sure that your needs will be met. 

8. Interview the Agent

Think of an agent as someone that you’re hiring. Like any employer, you’ll want to conduct an interview before making your decision on who to bring on board, and working with a real estate agent is no different. Agents expect to be interviewed, so there’s nothing wrong with asking them a number of questions to gauge whether or not the agent makes a good fit.

The Bottom Line

Buying and selling real estate shouldn’t be rushed, nor should choosing a real estate agent to help you go through the process. Take the time to ask all the right questions and do a little homework to make sure the agent you ultimately narrow down is the right one to serve your specific needs.

Restaurant Review – Lena Brava

This week took me to a swankier spot than usual! I found myself at Lena Brava, one of Rick Bayless’s restaurants. Rick Bayless is an American chef who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern flair. We booked our reservation months ago, but had a coveted 7:30 pm slot on Saturday evening. The restaurant was bustling when we walked in. A gorgeous wood bar lines the far left wall, surrounded by small groups of tables. We were seated at a table right next to the open kitchen- one of my favorite places to sit in a restaurant. The menu is divided into three sections: Ice, Fire, and Bonfire. Things in the Ice section are served cold, from the Fire section are served hot, and from the Bonfire section are hot and designed to serve 2 people. My mouth was watering the minute I looked at the menu. Our waitress suggested that we each order an entree and then share appetizers and sides among the table. I decided on the Scallops, Sunchoke, Peanut: fire-seared Hudson Canyon sea scallops, served with peanut mole sauce (ancho & guajillo chiles, toasted peanuts, sunflower seeds), creamy sunchoke, bonito flakes, and peashoots. This was absolutely fantastic. The scallops were so simply seasoned and the flavor was marvelous. I loved the unique peanut mole sauce- I’ve never had anything like it before. The sunchoke was delicious as well! It had a light and bright flavor that really complimented the richness of the scallops and sauce. My friend ordered the Braised Short Rib: braised Creekstone short rib, served over cauliflower mash with a smoky-spicy Oaxacan pasilla salsa. Even after just one bite, I loved this. The meat was melt in your mouth tender and the smoky salsa was wonderful. We shared three vegetable sides between us. First came the Shishitos: grilled shishito chiles & knob onions, lime & güero chile kosho, topped with savory crunch (hazelnut, black sesame, pumpkin seed). I loved these! Some of the peppers were super spicy and the crunchy topping of the hazelnut and pumpkin seed was so texturally pleasing. We also ordered the Sweet Potatoes: wood oven-roasted tri-color sweet potatoes, topped with ancho chile-piloncillo glaze, Prairie Fruits Farm goat cheese, and a walnut crunch. I absolutely love sweet potatoes and these were no exception. The buttery potato combined with the creamy goat cheese was delicious! Finally, we had the Butter-Roasted Plantains: ripe plantains wood oven-roasted with butter, thick cream, homemade fresh cheese. These were my absolutely favorite! I can hardly describe how delicious they were. The plantains were rich and sweet and the homemade fresh cheese was fantastic. I would order these again in a heartbeat!

Lena Brava is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5-10 pm, Fridays-Saturdays from 5 to 11 pm, and Sundays from 5-9 pm. They take reservations for up to 8 people. Find more information here.


Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Downsizing

At the end of this month, I will be turning 60. My husband and I have decided to move closer to our grandchildren. It’s not a long distance move by any means (only 40 minutes away) but we are moving into a decidedly smaller house. We’re going from a two story, four-bedroom bungalow to a small one-story ranch. We have been in our present home for 33 years. The amount of crap I have accumulated is astounding! Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when downsizing.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time. You can’t decide “I’m moving next month!” and not lose your mind. We gave ourselves the better part of a year to declutter and get the house ready to put on the market. We both work long hours and attend many grandchildren activities, so spare time is at a premium.

Here’s your golden rule: “Have I used this item in the last year?” If not, it’s gone. I found clothing in a closet that I don’t remember buying or ever wearing. I’m one of those people that thinks “Well, I’ll keep it because you ‘never know’!” Don’t! Be ruthless. Another tip: only have a yes or no pile; there is no maybe. Purge duplicate items; the kitchen is notorious for these. How many spatulas do you use at a time? Pots and pans? Glassware? Dishes? Measuring cups?  I don’t know about you, but I mostly use paper plates and red cups.

It’s best to tackle a room at a time. Or even a closet in the room! It took me two days to go through two closets. Give yourself a time limit. I usually start with two hours. This will get you started! If you’re only looking at working for two hours, you are more likely to tackle the job. Before you know it, you are working for four hours and the closet is done. Plan ahead; but don’t beat yourself up if you get a little behind.

Digitize as much as you can. Everything from kid’s artwork to documents can be stored on the Cloud. Docs can be made into a PDF and stored on Google Drive or Dropbox. DVDs and CDs can be digitized using software from or An easy, free app like Keepy stores all your kid’s artwork and gives you a share option too.

After you’ve pared down, invite family members and friends over to see if they want anything. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of kitchen stuff that way. Some family members or friends that are just starting out could potentially use your old furniture, like a dresser or dining table. Remember, you can only take so many pieces of furniture with you in the move. Even if you are going from a 2000 ft 3-bed to a 1200 ft 3-bed, a lot of furniture will have to go. Know your space limits.

Donating is great but research all of the facilities. Many take some things but not others. Some will pick up, but won’t do stairs. Don’t leave this till the last minute either; pickup schedules may take several weeks. Most will not take any electronic items, so all TVs and computers will be hard to get rid of. They are also considered hazardous waste and must be taken to specific disposal centers. You might have to resort to a dumpster or a junkman. There are alternatives to a regular dumpster like the Waste Management Bagster. For a set fee, you purchase the bag, fill it up, and they pick it up. Again, there are restrictions. Junkmen are great as they will come, move everything, and haul it away. But it can get pricey, so get an estimate first.

So make a plan and get downsizing!


8 Tips to Baby-Proofing Your Home

Babies are innocent, but they still manage to get themselves into trouble when they become mobile. Once they start crawling and (gasp) walking, they can easily get into some mischief that can lead to injury. That’s why it’s so important to take measures to keep your child out of harm’s way.

Of course, you’ll definitely want to prevent them from touching a hot stove or falling down the stairs, but there are plenty of other not-so-obvious potential hazards that you’ll want to take care of to protect your precious little one.

1. Secure Bookshelves and Other Furniture

Babies have a tendency to climb things, and if they happen to latch onto a shelf, they can send it tumbling on top of them. To prevent this from happening, secure your bookshelves to the walls.

Any other piece of furniture that has the possibility of toppling over should also be affixed to prevent them from tipping over on top of your child.

2. Cover Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlet plugs have been around for decades to help parents baby-proof their homes. They’re handy at preventing babies from sticking their little fingers in the sockets and getting a major shock.

But be sure to choose outlet covers that make it easy for parents to still access the outlets. The traditional covers can be tough to remove whenever you need to plug something in, so consider getting yourself covers that come with sliders that still make it easier for you to gain access to the outlets while making it tough for your little one to do the same.

3. Cover Stove/Oven Knobs

Once babies are able to stand up and reach the knobs on the stove, you can be sure that they’ll want to grab onto them and see what they are. Unfortunately, they can inadvertently turn them on while satisfying their curiosity.

To prevent them from turning on the stove or oven, place transparent covers over them, which you can find at stores catering to babies and young children.

4. Keep Items Over the Crib Lightweight

Whether you have a mobile, light fixture, or artwork hanging over your baby’s crib, make sure it’s not too heavy. If your baby grabs a hold of it or it falls on its own, it can really cause harm if the item in question falls on top of your little one. As such, make sure that whatever you’ve got over the top of the crib is safe enough to be hung in that spot.

5. Remove Glass From Wall Art

It doesn’t take much for babies and toddlers to lift up artwork hanging on walls (if they’re tall enough to reach or the art is hanging low). And once that artwork comes off the hook, it can easily come crashing down on your baby.

That glass can quickly shatter when it hits the floor, leaving your baby in a sea of sharp-edged glass pieces. To keep your baby safe, remove the glass in front of any artwork that’s within reach.

6. Cushion Sharp Corners and Edges

As babies learn to walk, they inevitably bump into things, and many times their heads are what come into contact with things that are in their way. While this might be OK with many furniture pieces, it’s the sharp corner and edges that you have to watch out for. Smacking their head onto a sharp edge or poking their eyes with a sharp corner can do some damage.

To avoid these mishaps, consider covering these sharp edges and corners with specially-made cushions that you stick onto the areas that need attention.

7. Turn Down the Water Temperature

The temperature of your water can be adjusted, so you’ll want to take advantage of this flexibility. The water that comes out of your hot water spout can be piping hot, which can scald your baby’s delicate skin immediately. As such, be sure to reduce the temperature of your hot water.

Speaking of tubs, be sure to place a non-slip mat along the bottom to prevent any slips and falls. And while you’re at it, consider covering the bathtub spout with something soft in case your baby bumps his or her head on it.

8. Prevent Strangulation By Cutting Looped Cords on Blinds

If your home’s windows are outfitted with blinds, odds are there are dangling cords that are just begging to be tugged at by your little one. The problem with these cords is that they present a real danger to little children in the form of accidental strangulation.

If your baby gets caught in the cord, this can spell disaster. To prevent any mishaps from occurring, cut the loops of the blinds’ cords, and keep them out of reach completely.

The Bottom Line

The aesthetics of your home are certainly important, but with a baby in the home, safety always takes top priority. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to baby-proof your home without compromising style. Just a few simple tactics can make your home a lot safer for your little one.


After completing a full week of work, I bet most Chicagoans are ready for a vacation!  As usual, the city has us covered this weekend!

Here’s two great shows to get us started!!

The 15th annual Travel and Adventure Show takes over the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (5555 N. River Rd.) in Rosemont this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.). Here you’ll be face-to-face with thousands of travel experts from around the world!  You’ll explore endless vacation options, discover over 250+ destinations from around the globe, plan your trip, meet travel celebrities, attend dozens of educational seminars, and so much more.  There’s even fun for the whole family with camel rides, scuba lessons in the dive pool, and many other activities!  Plus guests can renew their passport, sign up for the Global Entry Program, snag some sweet deals with exclusive show-only specials, and trip giveaways!!

The Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat RV & Sail Show drops anchor at McCormick Place (2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).  It’s the ultimate one-stop market place for outdoor adventure and fun.  This year’s show is packed with over 600 boats, 100 RV’s, sailing and boating educational seminars, plus the latest in technology and outdoor & marine accessories!  Visitors can also participate in various activities and games such as free paddle sports demos, remote control sailboat racing, the Huck Finn trout pond for kids 12 and younger, the Corona find your beach bar & cantina, oyster shucking demos, and more!!  There’s something for everyone at this year’s show!

Watson Adventures returns this Saturday (1:00 p.m.) to the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.) in The Loop for its The Murder at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt.  Oh boy, the curator knew too much and was murdered!  Of course, he left behind a cryptic trail of clues connected with secrets in the works of art so you could piece together the sordid details that got him killed!  BTW, you’ll have to crack a secret code to figure out whodunnit!!

The largest sketch comedy festival in the country presents a packed lineup of more than 100 hilarious performers at the 18th annual Chicago SketchFest held at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave.) in the Lakeview neighborhood.  Performances take place every hour, on the hour, featuring a comedic melting pot of local favorites, award-winning international ensembles, veterans, and fresh talent performing nearly 200 shows over 8 days!  After all, January can be a rough month in Chicago, so why not have something to laugh about?!

Beware of the No Pants Subway Ride on the Red Line this Sunday (12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.)!  This pantless tradition started in New York City in 2002 and has spread across the country to other cities.  This event is meant to have a little fun with a celebration of silliness and nothing more.  All private bits should be kept private!  Please refer to the official Facebook page for more details and find out exactly where to meet if you wish to participate.  Don’t forget to bring a pair of pants!  After all, you can’t spend the entire day walking around without them!!  Or, can you?

Are You Ready for a Vacation?